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Saturday, 24 April 2010 10:56

MDGs - Expert Advocates Increased Private Investment

By Abimbola Akosile

LAGOS, Nigeria, April 24 (This Day) - A fresh belief has emerged that it is only through thriving markets and private investment that Africa can develop appreciably, in a bid to help realise and achieve the global Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on the continent.

 

The belief was expressed by Chair of the Board of Deloitte, South Africa, Ms. Ntombifuthi Mtoba, while contributing at a recent United Nations (UN) Panel on the MDGs Dialogue with Foundations and the Private Sector. She also opined that business is investing in new ideas and also in identifying solutions for development.

 

The panellists met in New York, US, ahead of the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on the MDGs approaches, and have declared China as the country most successful in approach to achieving the global Goals.

 

The panellists comprise Chairman, Global Compact Foundation, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart; Chair of the Board of Deloitte, South Africa, Ms. Ntombifuthi Mtoba; the Managing Director, Rockefeller Foundation, Mr. Gary H. Toenniessen, and Executive Director of the Nigerian Network of NGOs (NNNGOs), Ms. Yemisi Ransome-Kuti.

 

Ransome-Kuti, the only Nigerian on the UN panel, said The Dialogue, which was chaired by the Co-Facilitators also observed that while China has emphasised infrastructure, the country has drastically changed its fiscal and tax systems, thereby reducing taxes on rural citizens, according to information by Mr. Kunle Idowu of the NNNGO.

 

She said one of the panellists, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, observed that as it has become common knowledge throughout the world that while aid is important, only through economic activity can people be lift out of poverty, and quoted Sir Moody-Stuart as saying that "A healthy business needs a healthy society, therefore it makes business sense to invest in the eradication of poverty globally."

 

On how the world can halve poverty by the year 2015, the Global Compact Foundation chairman said Goals 7 and 8 are key to the role of business while the role of the private sector is fundamental and the tone of the way the private sector is treated at the international level has improved and business is more willing to engage.

 

He however surmised that the "extractive industries are often viewed merely as a source of tax revenue, but they are much more than that: they hire workers and sometimes pay them extra dividends from revenue generated," the founder of Nigeria Network of NGOs quoted Sir Mark Moody-Stuart as observing.

 

Also in her contribution, Ms. Mtoba said while there could be no gainsaying the fact that massive investment is needed and this needs to be sustainable by both the public and private sector.

 

She stressed that the "Role of business is essential in that mutual interest (business and community) can help us move to a more sustainable development path and at the same breadth participatory and responsive activities at local and regional levels are important and crucial."

 

She observed that "participatory and responsive activities at local and regional levels are important while at the same time only through thriving markets and private investment can the African continent experience a measure of appreciable development."

 

"As the chair of the Board of Deloitte, South Africa, I want to emphasise that we have over the past ten years been trying to enshrine the principle of best practices in business. We would also want to observe that business growth without a moral compass is not good enough and that markets should also serve the poor, this can be achieved through doing 'good business' and being aware of its 'footprints' in communities. At the end of the day, however, it should be noted that only by working with all stakeholders can we realise the MDGs."

 

On his part, Mr. Gary H. Toenniessen, the Managing Director of Rockefeller Foundation spoke extensively on the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) experience. He said the AGRA mission is to increase productivity, profitability and sustainability of small-scale farmers and this is supported now by several funders and chaired by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and its President is the former ED of FAO.

 

 
AfricnGrowthWorldSafaris_

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